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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Austin Triathlon - A Win!

The Austin Triathlon is quickly becoming one of the best multisport events in Austin. It is very local (right around Auditorium Shores, in the heart of downtown) and is a well organized, loop format course, which makes it very spectator friendly. High Five Events heads this one up along with Jack & Adams. Dan Carroll is the 'man in charge', and when he is working, he may be better called Mr. Attention to Detail. Just as in the past few years, the Austin Triathlon did not disappoint this weekend.
This race came about 5 weeks out from Hawaii, so, of course my trai
ning has been rather heavy the past few weeks. I actually had to change things up a bit last week since I found my energy levels were beginning to drop. This seems to be a very tricky time, since you have the cumulative fatigue from the season building up, yet a good level of fitness; my husband Derick is a great sounding board, as when he sees me dragging around the house talking of needing a nap, he usually tells me to take an extra rest day. And he is usually right. Anyhoo, I had thoughts of not racing this event, but I knew that despite slightly tired legs, once race morning came around I would get in the mood and once the gun went off, I'd go into race mode and love it.I spent Sunday at the expo doing a brief transition clinic, followed by a pro panel, which was entertaining even on my side of it listening to Richie Cunningham and Michael Lovato talk smack to one another; definitely crowd pleasing. We kicked off Monday morning promptly at 7:00 AM (sans the usual Shawn Colvin, who often sings the national anthem! ) in the wetsuit-legal 1500 meter swim, down and back up Town Lake. It was actually a very pleasant swim, despite a large Open wave, people seemed to spread out nicely and there was no jockeying for position. I found some calm water and cruised along pretty much solo, coming out on the heels of Todd Gerlach, and about 20 seconds down from Tenille Hoogland, the first woman out. I hustled through transition and was out on the bike which consisted of 3 loops (24 or so miles total).
This bike is fun in that we head up South Congress Avenue (a hot spot in Austin, in terms of restaurants, bars, trailer park eateries and most definitely people watching) which gives
us a long steady climb then come bombing back down it towards the Capitol. While it is a 'fast' course, it has a few hills which keeps it honest. I hammered away from the start, as I had about 45 seconds to make up on 1st place. I finally caught her on the third lap, but just as I did Desiree caught me so I knew that I needed to stay on the gas. I was quite surprised my body was giving me this much knowing how my legs had felt prior to the start! I guess this is called the 'adrenaline effect'. I had taken my two PowerGels and as the loops became a bit more crowded as we progressed, I was anxious to get off the course as it was also getting a bit wet with some spitting rain. We entered T2 together (Desiree and I) and I knew it would not be easy from then on as she is a great and tough runner! Photo by Mario Cantu

We started the 10k run out of transition and right onto the grass, talk ab
out a cross country course to start! I was using my new Zoot TT 4.0's which felt great, and were a nice bright PINK. Very visible! We had two loops, and the first couple of minutes we spent on a grassy section before we hit the road. I pushed hard from the start, knowing that Des would be tough to stay away from. After about 1.5 miles, we hit another grassy stretch winding through a park and then hit pavement again, as we also hit the crowds. This is always nice, especially if you do not want to 'look back' because they seem to tell you what is happening! I knew I had gapped her a bit, but I never take that for granted and kept pushing hard. We started the second loop, and I took my Raspberry PowerGel to ensure no bonking. I tried to stay on pace, but also tried to keep myself controlled, starting to feel the race catching up to me. Once I hit First Street bridge (and the final mile), I knew I likely had the win and I really enjoyed the crowds cheering. It felt so good, as I had gotten passed the previous year (by Des!) about halfway through the run and lost by 30 seconds or so. I was able to come away with the win, and about a 6 minute improvement on last years time, along with a 2-hour flat overall time! Very pleased with this result, and so nice to do it in a 'home crowd'!

Thanks so much to all of the local support that I have in this amazing town, including Jack & Adams, Hill Country Running (Jamie & Andrea, the watermelon post-race was delicious...!), Advanced Rehab, 3 Cosas Massage, and Go with the Flo Acupuncture. Also a big thanks to my sponsors Zoot Sports, Quintana Roo, PowerBar and Katalyst Multisport. And a huge congrats to the top men Ph
ilip Graves, Richie Cunningham and Michael Lovato for duking it out for Top 3. And thanks to fellow women made me work so hard for this win, Des, Tenille, and fellow Zoot'er Sierra Snyder.
Next up is a bit of recovery from this event, and then Branson 70.3 right
around the corner on September 19th. Then the season finale, Hawaii, on October 9th. It's been an incredible year, and I already feel very blessed with this season. That said, I still want to finish with a bang! Thank you for stopping by.

**Please note, I am in my final weeks of raising funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society through the Janus Charity Challenge via my participation in Ironman Hawaii. My goal is $5000, and I am about $1500 short right now. I really think I can make this goal! Please contact me (kellymhandel@yahoo.com) to find out about how you can donate to this cause. It is one very close to my heart, and your support makes a huge difference, no matter the amount. Thank you!**

3 comments:

TiffersRunsTX said...

What an epic race! I really should've been there yesterday, dang! Congrats on so much hard work, and that hard work paying off, lady! I'm a most humble and happy follower of both you and Des, so it's an added bonus to see the both of you in competition!

Libby said...

yahooo!!!! congrats girl! nothing like the hometown girl taking the crown. good stuff. you are on a serious roll and I can't wait to cheer you on in the final two races of the year! go kelly!!!

Trigirlpink said...

OH... YOU are SOOOO ready for Kona there missy!!! I just saw your results for this weekend too. What a year!